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Attackers zero in on Web application vulnerabilities
This article is part of the Information Security magazine issue of January/February 2010
When users of link sharing and discussion website MetaFilter detected malicious code transforming benign webpages into a drive-by attack platform, Matthew Haughey raced to fix the security flaw. Haughey, a programmer and Web designer who started the site in 1999, soon figured out the problem: a standard SQL injection attack targeting a poorly coded Web application that he built when the website first went live. It was his first Web application and Haughey admits that it failed to filter out variables from the URL. "Someone discovered it, exploited it, and wreaked havoc," says Haughey, recalling the incident, which took down parts of the website last year. "It took us about two days to plug up the holes on every page and make sure every read of every URL was safe." Security experts say problems such as this are happening on websites all over the Internet at an alarming rate. Web application vulnerability flaws account for more than 80 percent of the vulnerabilities discovered, according to the SANS Institute. In many cases, ...
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Features in this issue
Massachusetts 201 CMR 17.00 and Nevada's data protection law establish new standards for personal data protection
Learn how endpoint data loss prevention technology complements network DLP and secures data that users interact with on laptops, mobile and portable storage devices.
Secure coding and vulnerability scanning could mitigate many Web application attacks
Columns in this issue
IT and security managers often make the mistake of being consumed with a specific risk or threat to the detriment of security
Security experts Bruce Schneier and Marcus Ranum debate the possibility of eliminating anonymity on the Internet.
China's hacker attacks against Google's infrastructure, including Gmail accounts of human rights activists as well as Google's source code, should be used to educate enterprises about the reality of cyberespionage from nation states and organized criminals.